July 23rd, 2024

LC recognizing Black community contributions

By Greg Bobinec on February 3, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDgbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge College continues to recognize and celebrate the history and contributions of its Black community, as their Black History Month celebrations move online for 2021.
Throughout the month of February, the college will be using its website and social media channels to share a variety of stories and resources that highlight the cultures and background for those who make up the college’s community.
In previous years, the college celebrations have been organized by a group of instructors, employees and students of African and Caribbean descent, with support from the Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA). Past celebrations have included speakers, dancers, sport activities and food, where this year’s celebrations will focus on sharing the stories of the Black communities and will highlight issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.
“Histories mark our lives, and the people often interested in learning about these pasts are those most negatively impacted,” says Ibrahim Turay, School of Justice Studies instructor and Black History Month organizing committee member.
“As we celebrate this year’s BHM, I invite everyone to think about some of the cultural or criminal stereotypes you have heard in your community about Black peoples, Black youths, particularly.”
Turay adds that the question that needs to be asked is to what extent perceptions, consciously or otherwise, influence behaviour when interacting with members of the Black communities.
“Racial’ stereotypes were once used to justify chattel slavery in the Americas,” says Turay.
“Racial stereotypes like thugs, gang members or criminality continue to be used today to defend the disproportionate representation of Blacks in prisons in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., as well as their deadly encounters with law enforcement. Racism still exists, and more so alive in our criminal justice system and other institutions, including educational and health institutions.”
As part of the two-year Dimensions pilot program, a team within the college evaluates what Lethbridge College is doing to promote equity, diversity and inclusion on campus, and identifying areas that need improvement.
“As a post-secondary institution, we have an obligation to support our community by listening, learning and adding to the important conversations that are taking place,” says Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “This past year has clearly shown us how racism, both institutional and overt, still affects nearly every aspect of everyday life.
“We need to elevate the voices and stories of our Black communities and ensure everyone knows they have a place in our college.”

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